No one orchestrates fanfare better than the Clintons.
This week, a sea of Hillary Clinton interviews has blanketed the television landscape. Name the news channel and the outgoing Secretary of State has been on it. She and President Obama gave their first joint interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday. On Wednesday, she appeared in a farewell global town hall, answering questions from around the world. Yes, she even talked to Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren in a sit-down interview.
Everyone apparently loves Clinton. Now that she is leaving public life.
On Saturday, Clinton will no longer be Secretary of State. She told ABC’s Cynthia McFadden she may sleep later than usual, after all it’s the first time in decades that she doesn’t have a schedule or an office. But that won’t last long, according to Clinton. She says new projects await. It’s already been reported that Clinton will write a memoir about her time as Secretary of State. And there’s always that 2016 “do I or don’t I run” question to consider.
Last week, Clinton was under fire for the Benghazi attack and giving a bravura performance on Capitol Hill. She may have dodged a few questions but who cares? This week she is the belle of the ball saying good-bye.
But not everyone is impressed by the Clinton hoorah.
This week, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague hosted a private party at the British Ambassador’s House of political glitterati. According to the Post’s Reliable Source column, the cast of “Downton Abbey” sent a special video tribute to Clinton.
Nile Gardiner, a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator, wrote in Britain’s The Telegraph, “But what has Hillary Clinton done to deserve such lavish praise from the cast of one of Britain’s most successful shows, no doubt at the behest of liberal mandarins in the Foreign Office? Very little. In fact it’s hard to think of a US Secretary of State who has paid less attention to the Anglo-American alliance in recent decades than Mrs. Clinton.”
Some analysts claim that in the last four years, there hasn’t been a major foreign policy achievement. In the “60 Minutes” interview Obama listed that winding down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and dismantling al-Qaeda’s core leadership were wins. Critics, however, point out that there is still no peace agreement in Afghanistan, no concrete negotiation between Israel and Palestine, no intervention in Syria or a “reset” with Russia. Can incoming Secretary of State John Kerry accomplish all of that?
As the Brookings Institution pointed out on Thursday, “She worked for a president who managed foreign policy out of the White House and who dominated the decision-making process.”
Does Clinton wish she could have done more? After all, it is well known – and has been since her college days at Wellesley – that she likes tangible achievement. Knowing Clnton, she probably wanted to accomplish a lot more than she did. Hence, the inevitable talk of 2016. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a world where Clinton simply retires and that’s it. She’s not the type, regardless of health problems.
As Obama has pointed out, Clinton possesses a brand, and in the 21st century, that is as important as diplomacy was in the days of Henry Kissinger. One thing is certain – no one in American politics has her resume. She is every woman – political spouse, mother, lawyer, first lady, U.S. senator and Secretary of State. She can see Washington – and the world – through a prism unlike anyone else.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker